PANAMA CITY — After closing its borders in late March, Panama is set to reopen to international visitors from all countries on Oct. 12.
The Panama Tourism Authority, in collaboration with The Ministry of Health and other government authorities, has implemented strategic health and safety protocols designed to keep both visitors and local communities safe during and after its initial tourism reopening. These include pre-travel requirements such as a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test upon arrival, which must be taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival.
If a passenger’s COVID-19 test was taken more than 48 hours from arrival, passengers will be mandated to take a rapid test at the airport prior to customs and are responsible for the cost of approximately US$30. Before checking in for their flight and beginning Oct. 10, passengers must also complete an electronic affidavit available on the Visit Panama website, under ‘COVID-19: Test Requirements and Travel Guidelines.’
It is not required for visitors to have health insurance for entry, however it is recommended. Surgical face masks are required at all times when arriving and walking through Tocumen International Airport, and travellers should be prepared to present their negative test results at customs.
Additional precautions at the airport include temperature screenings and physical distancing of at least two metres. In the case of an elevated temperature, passengers will be subject to a rapid COVID-19 test at their expense and/or additional health screenings. If the test result is positive, the Panamanian government will facilitate a hotel stay at no cost to the traveller for a mandatory quarantine period of seven days, at which time another test will be administered.
After leaving the airport, visitors are required to wear face masks in all public spaces. There is also an increased presence of hand sanitizing stations, usage of electronic payment options, standing or digital menus and maps accessible via smartphone designed to limit contact with others. Restaurants are limiting the number of diners in order to avoid crowding, while tables are separated by a distance of at least two metres. Additionally, tour operators and attractions are required to reduce capacity by 50% in ground transportation vehicles, and event spaces are limited to 30% capacity and four people per table.
With these new protocols, Panama has earned the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp of approval, the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp based on guidelines from WHO and the CDC.
Ivan Eskildsen, the Panamanian Minister of Tourism, says that the country is excited to safely welcome back visitors.
“The new health and safety protocols reflect our continuous hard work and dedication in protecting both Panamanians and our visitors, and through our efforts have earned the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp of approval. Our beautiful country, rich in nature, biodiversity and cultural heritage is once again ready to be discovered,” he says.
For more information go to https://www.visitpanama.com/information/travel-guidelines.